I kind of forgot how much I enjoyed writing until I started writing here.
When I was little, my dream was to be a writer. Writing has always come naturally to me, and I remember writing short detective stories when I was a grade schooler. We had this computer program at school called Storybook Weaver that allowed you to make your own picture books on the computer, complete with shitty pixelated stock graphics. My parents ended up getting me the program at home, and I would create stories constantly. A teacher in second grade saw that I enjoyed writing and even got me a special Harry Potter journal. (Shout out to Ms. Skomsky – love you biiiitch.)
In high school, I would write little fanfictions about my friends and I going on dates with celebrities and band members we liked. Kind of cringy, I know, but it was fun, and my friends got a kick out of them. I enjoyed writing essays for class, because I knew I was good at writing them and could get away with injecting some of my personality into them so long as I kept it in MLA format. I had become more self-conscious upon entering high school, though – I no longer felt confident enough to write stories as freely as I once had.
When I went to college, though, I remembered my passion…kinda. I went to school for film and journalism, with the vague goal of wanting to write a screenplay of some sort. Or just work on a movie, or write a book that could turn into a movie, or…something. I didn’t know what exactly, but I knew I wanted to incorporate writing in somehow. I picked up journalism later, since I knew I could handle the writing intensive courses and thought it would be useful to learn to write in a more specific and structured manner.
I took screenwriting classes, but was surprised to find that the stuff I was writing wasn’t blowing anyone away like it did when I was in high school and grade school. I was in the big leagues now, and needed to actually learn and apply fiction-writing techniques and listen to criticism. I took a TV writing class, and was told that my idea for a pilot – one that I was very passionate about and put a lot of time into – wasn’t interesting enough. No matter how much effort I put in, the professor gave the same feedback – “not enough to keep viewers hooked.” I was pretty devastated, and thought, “gee, maybe writing wasn’t my thing, after all.” I was emo about that for a while, and started gravitating towards other things like video editing and graphics.
I was still doing well in my journalism classes, though, so I figured maybe all I needed was to shift my writing direction a little more. Instead of trying to write movies and television, I could just try and write about them, using a weird blend of both majors. I resolved to start a film blog, but was too bogged down by class responsibilities. Plus, I was already dealing with Hardcore Depression, and was having trouble motivating myself to do anything, let alone pick up a new hobby.
Then I graduated, and started feeling restless. I picked up a shitty retail job, and started to forget what my ~career goals~ even were. I was focused on making money and bringing my mental health back up to speed and ignored my passions for a bit. I also started watching a lot more anime, because, like, that’s what you do when you have a giant void you’re trying to fill in your life. You watch a shit ton of anime. But I wanted to do something, to use my time better, to fill the void even more, and so I decided to try to blog again, but this time about anime. Thus, Welcome To Hell Zone was born.
For a while, I was fixated on followers, getting likes, getting comments, etc. I saw other Cool Anime Folks on Twitter who had anime blogs, so I wanted to be like them, too. That was, I thought, why I started the blog in the first place. But I think it was always a little deeper than that. While I of course still want to have some kind of an audience, I realize now that all I really wanted was a reason to write again. I wanted to ease back into it, and start small. Writing about fiction helps me write about my own life and feelings…it gives me a frame to put those personal feelings into words. The blog post I wrote about My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness and my Amanchu! Advance post about friendship are two examples of this. It’s like, I won’t write about personal shit on my own time, but if some anime or manga makes me think about it? Well then, hell yeah, I have a reason to write something down because I can apply it to my blog. Suddenly, I have goals and passion again.
When I was writing that Amanchu! post earlier in the week, I really had a nice flow going and started to remember all the stories about friendship I had intended to write someday. I forgot I had even storyboarded a movie based on my old highschool friendships before. And even though the post didn’t do particularly well, it felt great to write it and just put it out there – to see the different places those words could take me.
It’s like, sometimes I don’t know my own feelings until I write about them, you know? And now I have a reason to write, and even people who tell me they like reading what I write! It’s awesome, and I’ve realized that it doesn’t really matter what I write about or even how many people read what I write – I’m not out here writing the next great American novel, I’m writing anime blog posts that only get like, 20-30 views. But it’s…fun. I forgot that writing was fun, and made me feel good. It’s amazing, really, how much casually starting an anime blog positively impacted my life and my abilities. I’m getting back in that groove, that natural flow, and it makes me really, really, really happy. I’m even gaining the confidence to start trying to write things for other websites. Heck, I’m writing so often, I’m thinking about starting another blog on the side so I can write about music/movies/whatever and start putting a little portfolio together. I might not make writing my full-time job or anything (that shit don’t pay and I got bills, yo!), but I’m happy to have it develop as a full-fledged hobby or side-hustle.
Now, to bring it in to you. Has blogging about whatever it is you blog about reignited anything like this in you? Do you write more because you love to write, or more because you love what you’re writing about? I guess for me, it’s really a bit of both, but I’ll talk about how great writing specifically about anime and manga is another time. I’ve said before that I love reading people’s thoughts about how media affects, but I’m equally as interested in reading about why and how people write about these things in the first place. So if you’ve read this far, let me know about your own writing experiences! And, because I don’t say it enough, thanks for reading 🙂